Tuesday, May 20, 2014

That Tree

THAT TREE, 6x8" oil on canvas, plein air, ©Diane Mannion

Oh!  That tree.

Painted at Bay Preserve, Osprey this morning.  In the past I've noticed many artists paint THIS tree, an old live oak leaning over the edge of Little Sarasota Bay.  It's actually the neighbor's tree, not on the Preserve property at all... but does have character.  

While my solo show has been on at the Bay Preserve, I've painted with many plein air groups and artists.  I've seen renderings, both good and bad (EW, if you read this, yours is one of the good ones!) of this poor old tree.  So now that my show is almost over, thought I'd give it a try.

This is a plein air (painted outside) SKETCH, an alla prima (wet into wet)... premier coup (painted in one shot).  Not touched up later.  Simply a study, an impression capturing color notes and light that the camera cannot see.  

Trying to paint faster on location and not think about creating a "finished" painting.  It's freeing!  Just get the primary reaction, the feeling of place, a moment in time.  If I want a more finished, studio work later, I'll use these along with my photo reference to create a larger, new, more polished painting.  

Magic happens with these little ones... fresh, spontaneous, an energy that can be destroyed if tampered with in the studio.

One of my favorite artists, Duane Keiser... does small "premier coup" paintings almost everyday that end up in my email box.  They are of whatever catches his eye.  If you want to fall in love with an artist, check out his work.

2 comments:

Susan said...

A very pleasing scene... If I saw this tree, I would certainly photograph it, probably from several angles. Then I would bring out its best with Photoshop. You and other artists write about your "reference photo," and that makes me curious... Do painters tend to be really good photographers, or do they usually learn just enough to meet their painting needs?

Diane Mannion said...

Thanks, Susan. Artists are visual folks so I think they make pretty good photograpers. But taking reference photos for a painting is another story... the camera cannot see what the eye can see. Things are flattened, distorted, and the color is completely different even with the best cameras! A reference photo is great for capturing moving things like birds or children or other moving things. But an artist has to use their visual memory banks in order to fill in the blanks and change everything. Artists have to resist the temptation to be giant copy machines. We are creating a painting, not repainting a photo.